HARTFORD – State Representatives JP Sredzinski (R-112) joined fellow State Representatives Carol Hall (R-59) and Brian Ohler (R-64) on Tuesday and announced their intention to convene a bipartisan working group focused on school security and safety in Connecticut at a press conference.
In the aftermath of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, FL, there has been discussion in Connecticut and across the country about school security among educators, students and parents. Rep. Sredzinski, the Ranking Member of the Public Safety & Security Committee, along with Reps. Hall and Ohler felt it appropriate to convene the working group focused on school security to begin addressing those concerns.
“I am committed to a robust evaluation of the effectiveness of current school security-focused legislation and programs, as well as a canvass of current attitudes, concerns, and trends in hardening schools,” said Rep. Sredzinski. “Having participated in a community conversation hosted by students at Masuk High School on National Walk Out Day, I heard firsthand the growing unease regarding the safety of students and faculty in our schools. This is not acceptable. I intend for this working group of experts and education stakeholders to explore a vast array of options for making progress in ensuring our learning environments are safe and productive.”
The legislators announced the following action items for the working group at the news conference:
- Summarize current school safety legislation;
- Measure school districts’ knowledge of current legislation;
- Use and availability of existing state and federal funds;
- Review of whether regulations and associated programs have been implemented;
- Availability of school-based mental health professionals;
- Parents’ knowledge and understanding of their district’s security measures;
- Local educators’ view of the effectiveness of legislation and related programs;
- Determine viability of school security measures installed years ago;
- Identify new trends and techniques in school security;
- Collect recent concerns of educators, students and law enforcement;
- Determine what other states are doing
The legislators also intend to communicate with their districts, teachers, superintendents, and students to get feedback on what has been done, how things have changed and what they still feel needs to change.
Among the working group’s proposed participants:
- Republican and Democrat legislators;
- School superintendents;
- Law enforcement personnel;
- Mental health professionals for children.
- Federal agency liaisons
- School security consultants
- Students and parents
The legislators spearheading the effort to create the working group have between them a diverse array of qualifications and experience working in the intersection of law enforcement and school campuses.
- Rep. Carol Hall, founding member of Enfield’s school security committee;
- Rep. JP Sredzinski of Monroe, ranking member of the Public Safety and Security Committee; 911 Dispatch Supervisor whose career has been in public safety
- Rep. Brian Ohler of North Canaan, school safety consultant, U.S. Army military police veteran
“Today, we invite our Democratic colleagues to join us in this initiative. We hope this working group can become permanent, so we can make certain that our school districts are getting the best resources and guidance. We need to remain diligent in order to protect our most important assets, our children,” said the representatives.